Friday, June 28, 2013

Fashion Blog: What I Wore Today: High Street Luxe Find White Embroidered Top, Vintage Earl Jeans & Chloe Sandals

I do like a rummage through the rails on the high street, these days its virtual. Online is less hot and can be done at leisure with a coffee! Plus I don't miss anything. I noticed this cute embroidered white top that was just so summery and then popped into the store to check it out in person when I was passing by.

It's a high street luxe find, the embroidery is really neat and precise and the fabric light and whispy but opaque enough to hide my blushes. The gathered waist adds a bit more of a polished look to this piece. The hems are good and the extra details like little mother of pearl button fastenings on the back and just extra nice touches that make this top look much more expensive than it really is at just £16. It is available from Matalan (UK only)

A white summer top's best companion is dark blue indigo denim (I added my vintage indigo Earl Jeans) and finished off this casual summer day time look with a pair of chunky heeled Chloe sandals in light tan (similar here) and very well loved 10 year old Tod's bag (similar here). All I could possibly add to this was an assurance the sun would stay out of the clouds!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Beauty Blog: Super Offer: 20% Off At Neal's Yard Remedies Today Only (Thursday)

Say yes to safe skincare, say no to toxic nasties.

I am a huge fan of Neal's Yard Remedies products and their chemical free recipes. Skin care, body care, herbal remedies, aromatherapy candles... all their products are just divine and the right skin care product matched to your skin type really works.

Beautiful gift wrapping from Neal's Yard Remdies. 
I took advantage of their 20% off all orders offer today only (offer ends Friday morning at 9am) and stocked up on two skin care products that I just adore. A nice size pot of Frankincense Nourishing Cream and a pump action bottle of Rejuvenating Frankincense Facial Serum. Used together (serum first and then nourishing cream) and applied properly, these products really work. These two receptacles of facial bliss are anti ageing products. The only other task I perform before applying these two is a double cleanse at night with warm water, a muslin cloth, a creamy cleanser followed by a foaming cleanser or just a splash of warm water on my face in the morning.

I also decided to try something new and added their Beautiful Skin Tea to my shopping basket. The ingredients lead me to believe it has an orange-y flavour which I quite like in an infusion. At £6 per pack it is more expensive than regular supermarket infusions that sell for £1 - £3 per pack. My expectations are that the taste will be more vibrant and fresh due to better ingredients, I will post up my thoughts post tasting.

Neal's Yard Remedies ships worldwide from the website and has international stores/stockists in the USA, UK, Europe and more.

This is what my 20% saving looked like, a pretty impressive £8.50 off the serum alone, total saving is £13.95!

Why loves Neal's Yard Remedies...
1. They have the leaping bunny logo, which means they are completely cruelty free and vegan.
2. Only natural ingredients are used, NYR believe in safe cosmetics read more here.
3. The prices are reasonable for products with very high quality, potent ingredients
4. A high percentage of their ingredients are organic, I have noticed figures like 98% before shown on products
5. NYR looks after the enviroment and animals with their admirable policies read more here.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Time Out: The Best Loyalty Cards: Waitrose (UK)

I am singing the praises of Waitrose (UK Supermarket) again. I can't help it, they do everything right... quality, ethics, benefits for customers, the list goes on. I just like it there!

The myWaitrose loyalty card is pretty good too. Apart from the usual accumulating of points each time you shop either online or instore you also get a range of other lovely things.

1. Free Tea or Coffee every day if your local Waitrose serves hot drinks. Choose from freshly made Americano, Capuccino, Latte, Espresso, Mocha or Tea with Decaf available on request. Particularly nice relief as it is often blustery and raining in the UK.

2. Free Waitrose Kitchen Magazine worth £1.20 each month, it's ideal left on the table for a browse with a coffee. Lots of delicious recipes, healthy options and seductive food photography. Even available when you shop online, they think of everything!

3. Newspaper Moneyback. When you spend £5 on shopping you can get the cost of selected newspapers of your shopping. I like the Telegraph, thats £1.20 off the shopping and a good read too!

4. Waitrose do not inundate you with junk mail, I am pretty sure I only hear from them via the post every three months. Brilliant.

5. This quarter they sent me three £4 off vouchers when spending £40 of more in store. And a voucher for 5p off per litre when filling up at Shell. A while ago Waitrose were contacted by Greenpeace asking them not to work with Shell whilst Shell were drilling in the arctic, I did not receive any fuel vouchers from Waitrose until it was announced that Shell had stopped their attempts to drill. Which makes me smile.

6. There are other 10% off benefits too, such as 10% off their Waitrose Cookery School Courses and 10% off selected everyday items instore when you swipe your card at the till.

7. If you sign up for emails, they arrive looking good and full of only nice things, their especially good in the summer and at Christmas. No terrible bulk buy junk food offers - gosh I sound mean!

And aside from the loyalty card benefits...

8. When I have shopped online with on two occasions they have given me items free of charge as the use by dates were short. On the last shop it was organic mushrooms and brocolli. Previously it's been chicken. I will add that the shopping arrives intact and as ordered, hardly any substitutions.

9. I also noticed that the Waitrose staff are able to speak clearly, properly and pleasantly. Take note other retailers in the UK who allow their staff to grunt at customers.

10. Their own brand meat and poultry products are from their higher welfare select farms.

11. All Waitrose products are very high quality and the choice for chemical free products and organic produce is excellent.

10. Last but not least, every time you shop whether online or instore you have the chance to vote for which Charity you would like the monthly donation to go to. In-store, each month every Waitrose branch donates £1,000 (£500 in Convenience shops) between three local good causes that you choose.
Online, every three months, shares a donation of £25,000 between three national causes.

Sign up for myWaitrose here.

And if all that wasn't enough.. They are offering a free 400g Toblerone to myWaitrose customers while stocks last!

Completely off topic... Looking at old stuff again! There are lots of historical images at

Friday, June 14, 2013

Fashion Blog: New Summer Rag and Bone NY Harrow Booties

So summer is finally here, better late than never! This year my investment buy for the summer are these booties. I had been looking for something that was not too grungy, not too rock star, not too cowboy but also not so polished they would look out of place with summery casual pieces. The answer came in these Rag and Bone Harrow ankle boots in Caramel. They are a tough nubuck, fully lined and super comfortable, the insole is really padded like a little duvet, the thicker heel is ideal for all terrains - summer does produce lush green grass after all. The fit is great although they do come up small, so take either a half size up if your feet are slim or the next size up in your feet are wide.

I am avoiding leather from China and India and was pleased to read on the product description the leather/nubuck used is from Belgium and Italy and veggie tanned.  I love the little V cut in the front, not only a comfort effort but very flattering to the leg, as it the tan colour. The only addition to these was a double spray of protector to help fight off stains and rain.

I purchased mine from Germany (ships worldwide). The packaging they arrived in was very luxe along with a pretty folder and their trend book.

Rag and Bone Harrow Booties £395/$495 approx.
Buy from Rag and Bone NY, and There is pair in dark green discounted to £180 on

Cheap and Chic Alternative...
I spotted these Kelly Brook for New Look Studded Boots at £34.99 . They are vegan leather and very good quality especially the finishing, studs and edges. New Look is UK based and ships worldwide. I've tried these boots on, again they are small to size so take one size bigger and if there's space add a padded insole as these were quite "flat" inside. The only other change I would make to these is to remove the chains, leaving only the D ring they are attached to.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Fashion Blog: Three Thrifty Fashion Finds

Looking at old stuff - I can't resist! Fashion, jewels, interiors, architecture or just curios, I find it all utterly fascinating. When it comes to fashion I like the casual, briefness of popping into in consignment stores (called dress agencies in the UK), Goodwill (called Charity Shops in the UK) and vintage stores spontaneously when I just happen to be in the neighbourhood. I feel I have so much to learn each time I look inside a vintage piece of clothing, each decade showing different construction, different cuts, fabrics, the detail and evidence of delicate hand finishing of garments.

I recently found three thrifty fashion finds on the same day. This is rare for me as even though I like looking at old stuff, I rarely buy anything unless it's something that I really adore. So the thrifty haul in detail...

Vintage 1990s Celine Dress £39.99/$62.23.

This Celine dress is a linen and silk mix, I sent it for a dry clean
(hence the odd cardboard hanger) and collected it looking good as new.

The Celine dress has the shiniest gold buttons with the Celine logo embossed within and a soft tie around belt, I like that this piece is black and white, rather than the obvious navy and white often adopted in these spectator styles.

White embroidered cotton dress (no label) £3.99/$6.20
This dress has very delicate embroidery all over which is what I fell in love with when I spotted it.

Topshop blue and white stripe shirt £2.99/$4.65.
Perfect for any summer casual day, even as a cover up. Crisp worn with white and muted worn with corals and peaches.

These two pieces are 100% cotton so they went into the washer with some Ecover.
They are now waiting for a good pressing before hanging in my closet.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Fashion Blog: Two White Summer Dresses: Designer & High Street

When the sun is shining and the backdrop is green and lush I can't wear anything else than a white summer dress. The contrast in colour makes me feel full of energy and lightness of the white like I am floating on air as I zip around during the day.

I have a collection of white summer dresses, I am quite drawn to smooth cottons, broderie anglaise and embroidered pieces. I recently had a short trip away and took two pieces with me.

The dress on the left is a High Street Luxe Find from Matalan, white broderie anglaise dress in 100% Cotton priced at £20 from the current season. It is fully lined in a jersey type cotton. The quality of the Broderie Anglaise was outstanding with no frays or misses. The edging was great too. It looks much better quality than the £20 price tag.

The dress on the right is Burberry London. The fabric is stiffer and smoother so suited to summery smarter events. It is a cotton and silk mix with a high thread count. The broderie anglaise is more styled and designed to the shape of the dress with lovely details around the neckline and sleeve edges. The cost was around £395 a few years ago, similar here. It is dry clean only and has returned from the cleaners each year looking brand new.

Matalan white broderie anglaise dress detail, below.

Burberry London white broderie anglaise dress detail, below.

Both dresses are great investment pieces. The Matalan dress will be a great cost per wear piece, especially as it is white and will last a reasonable amount of time (if cared for correctly) due to the good quality fabric and stitching. The Burberry dress has been worn every summer for a about the past six years so again good cost per wear, classic style with the quality for longevity, I expect it to last any more years.

I accessorised with this ombre dip scarf from H&M. Currently in the sale at £5.

I wore both dresses with my new season investment, a pair of Rag and Bone Summer Harrow Booties in Caramel at £395/$495 at, and They look fab with everything summery, they are super comfortable (they are padded/cushioned on the insole), the heel is a very wearable height for day/walking and the tan colour and cut out at the front style is very leg flattering, especially if you are petite.

I don't always buy everything at full price, I tend to buy a mixture of full price, sale price and outlet price as well as a few consignment store pieces. I took about a month to decide to buy these boots, thinking mainly about how well they would go with my wardrobe of summer clothes and also how often I thought I would wear them with the year I have ahead. I also thought they would be ideal for travelling.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Time Out: Sculpture & Jewellery Workshop With Nora Fok

I was very privileged to have opportunity to take up a day workshop Nora Fok working with nylon mono filament and objects from nature to create jewellery and sculpture. Nora is a reknown for her delicate art/jewellery/sculpture, her pieces are exhibited all over including the V&A London. Inspired by different aspects of nature, structure, systems and order, she has a unique ability to translate ideas into delightful delicate and intricate compositions which one immediately associates with her. Nora's workshops are limited so it really was a chance that would probably not arise again any time soon, so it was an exciting day.

This is Nora modelling one of her exquisite neck pieces from the Cloud Nylon Collection.
On the day, I re-purposed this Neal's Yard Remedies Box and filled it with tools, beads and bits in my favourite shades of blues and greys from the class requirements list of things to bring along.

The 10.30 - 4pm day was split into creative work and looking at Nora's own pieces, starting off with jewellery themed from Nora's signature nature inspiration. We were handed a delightful little paper wrapped package that contained this...

A real peach stone dried for two years, a button and some ribbon. And after some handy work the pieces became this....

Then it was onto working with PVC. to create this very summery sherbet-y coloured bracelet from just four strands...

Next was a look at Nora's work from over the past 30 years. Slides and actual pieces were presented and we had the chance to try on a vast amount of Nora's jewellery pieces, again a very privileged position to be in as it is only during private sessions that the jewellery can be handled due to it's delicate nature. There were so many beautiful pieces they can be seen here.

In the afternoon was more delicate work with fine nylon creating a pretty pearl ring and a "light as air" bracelet from a huge length of nylon and small pearls. All work created by just tying and manipulating by hand, no glues or toxic chemicals were used. I apologise for the photographs' soft focus quality, the workshop space was dark with small desk lamps which were very yellow!

There was so much packed into the day to mention everything would make this a very long post. But I did just want to show one of my favourite pieces that Nora created using 3D polymer printing, this stunning coral inspired dress bracelet.

I discovered Nora's work after seeing lots of pieces in an exhibition, details of further exhibitions are on the website


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